Movies about inclement weather are probably never going to be… MoreMovies about inclement weather are probably never going to be masterpieces, but at least Twister showed some restraint. Into the Storm generally feels like a theatrical version of Discovery's Storm Chasers, but with said storm being so spectacularly over the top that any semblance of realism (and therefore suspense) is lost.
I mean, it's one thing to have three tornadoes in the same vicinity. It's another to have one of them pick up the fires of a burning house and become a gigantic column of flame (also, since tornadoes are formed by the joining of hot and cold air, wouldn't an overabundance of the former cause the storm to cease to exist?). And THEN they join forces and combine into one superstorm (seriously), and begin to pick up jumbo jets and rip trees out of the ground by the roots.
I'll admit that it all looks pretty cool, but that's about it. The less I say about the dialogue, the better. This is not recommended.
It never ceases to amaze me: since 2007, Marvel Studios has never gone… MoreIt never ceases to amaze me: since 2007, Marvel Studios has never gone a year without releasing at least one film, and the vast majority of them have been quite good, despite the juggernaut studio continuously taking chances on various directors (many of whom had less-than-stellar resumes). And this year has perhaps been the best yet, with the masterful The Winter Soldier coming out back in April, and now this. And while Guardians of the Galaxy isn't the best Marvel film this year, it's damn good nonetheless.
Since this group of heroes is easily the most obscure of Marvel's lineup to be put to film, the closest cinematic comparison I can make is The Magnificent Seven in space. And though the plot isn't quite as interesting as I just made it sound (it basically serves as a way to tie together most of the post-credits sequences of prior films in the MCU), the rest of the movie is good stuff, with fine performances, a witty script, and plenty of colorful visuals. WIth only Sin City remaining, Guardians of the Galaxy is a fitting sendoff to a summer that has simply not been full enough.
Even putting aside the ridiculous premise, I didn't really have that… MoreEven putting aside the ridiculous premise, I didn't really have that much faith going into Luc Besson's latest. The French action legend hasn't made a truly good film since La Femme Nikita back in 1990. That being said, he hasn't made any terrible movies since then either, and this somewhat dubious trend continues with Lucy.
As is the case with most of Besson's work, anyone with half a brain will be able to follow the storylne with little trouble. Lucy unintentionally ingests an experimental drug. This raises her mental capacity to ridiculous heights, effects-driven hijinks ensue. Pretty standard stuff really, and the leaps in logic are so glaringly obvious that ignoring them quickly becomes a distraction (why push cars out of the way you could simply fly over them?).
Granted, this fact does not seem to go unnoticed by the film itself, as several welcome moments of self-awareness manage to slip themselves organically into the storyline. But even knowing of its inherent flaws is not nearly enough to save Lucy from its cliched, high-concept plot and bring action.
The Purge (both Anarchy and its prequel) had so much potential. The… MoreThe Purge (both Anarchy and its prequel) had so much potential. The premise was excellent, seeming ripe for making a thriller filled to the brim with commntary on classism, distribution of wealth, and the effectiveness of law enforcement. Unfortunately, writer/director James DeMonaco seems content to just go straight for the violence, and leave the messages out to dry.
While the first Purge film was a relatively straightforward home-invasion movie, Anarchy is an action-thriller, with bigger scale, a bigger cast, and bigger ideas. The scale part actually works pretty well, showing how society in general reacts to twelve hours of lawlessness. And though it makes for some truly disturbing imagery, as before, the violence and gore still end up taking the stage.
And that wouldn't necessarily be a bad thing, except that, as in the first film, DeMonaco seems to be a tad timid when it comes to showing truly horrific acts. Take out most of the obscenities, and this film would have had a chance of being PG-13. If the events depicted in Anarchy really happened, people would do far worse than just kill each other, But no, DeMonaco seems content to just stick with highly standard action and horror fare, rather than truly pushing the envelope. Which is a shame, really, because that push could have been all that was needed to help this series realize its full potential.
The 1968 Planet of the Apes is regarded as a science-fiction classic,… MoreThe 1968 Planet of the Apes is regarded as a science-fiction classic, combining sharp satire and Charlton Heston with one of the most well-known twist endings Hollywood has ever seen. The sequels only got crazier (and worse), and once time travel got involved, you knew that it had to stop. Then in 2011, the series got a much-needed fresh start with Rise. And now the sequel is finally here, and it is quite possibly the best film in the entire eight-film series.
During the credits of Rise, there was a little sequence involving the implied spread of a virus known as the simian flu. By Dawn, that virus has all but destroyed the world, reducing the human population to around a tenth of what it once was. In San Francisco, the human colony there is running out of power, and asks the apes to allow access to the nearby dam, thus allowing the two sides to live separately, but peacefully. Of course, it's never that easy.
Due to a string of events which I will not spoil here, the good acting, phenomenal visual effects, precise direction, and almost-Shakespearean script come together in a smart, visceral blockbuster that will surely be remembered as one of 2014's best films.